05
Nov
09

Why is getting the brand right so important?

Brands matter. The image a company conveys guides the reception it gets from its target market, from its competitors and from its investors. So why is it that sometimes the very people to whom the brand should matter so much – the people who work with it every day – seem to care so little about it? And why should they care?

We’ve all seen it happen. Carefully chosen brand marks are dropped into a presentation and squeezed and transformed into some kind of distorted shape. Logos are  dropped into a wordprocessing document and squished into a box which is too small; or given some new colour; or put at an angle.

Or the thing designed to make people like us curl up into a whimpering ball – making up the logo from the fonts you’ve got on your machine and bodging it in to a letterhead, or on to a website.

Why do people do this? Why do people think it’s alright to take something which an experienced team have produced, which a company has agreed to use and which is all over its other collateral, and just make up something which sort of looks right?

They do not see why it matters. They don’t value the decisions their company has made in deciding on what it wants to look like.

So when it happens again, this is what you tell them.

Your company’s brand matters.  It matters because how your company is seen is important to it – and therefore to you. It is important to your company because your company wants to be recognised, and it knows that a consistent professional brand is very important in getting it recognised, respected and remembered.

If you saw a friend every day, and then one day you saw your friend, but he was shorter, with different coloured hair, wouldn’t you notice? If he was wearing the colours he never wears, would you notice? If you saw him the next day, and he was a she, would you notice?

Sure you would. You’d notice every time. And soon you wouldn’t know what your friend looked like, or how to recognise him (or her) when you saw them again.

Same with brands. A consistent image is about creating a consistent feeling in your clients. People recognise something, and they recognise when it is different, or changed, or just plain wrong.

It’s not that these brands have been made by people who really understand marketing, and public perception, and know how to create something that actually works. That’s part of it, but the real importance to your company is that the brand is the way it meets the public, and it needs to be the same, everywhere.

There are economic issues, sure: your company’s investment in it, for a start. Moreover, a good, well-guarded, well-respected brand can sometimes be worth more than whatever it is your company makes. There are issues in your personal pride in your company – what does it say about how you think of them if you’re prepared to deface their logo by not using it right?

Brand confusion means your company does not look professional. And if it doesn’t look professional, it loses customers. And if it loses its customers, you lose your job. And ultimately, that’s why it matters.

Jonathan Blanchard Smith
A strategic marketer with a range and depth of international experience, Jonathan is Managing Partner at Vivid London. He coaches at executive level and lectures on cultural integration with specific reference to cross-border mergers and acquisitions. Past chairman of a national patient advocacy charity, he also chairs the board of a technology company and a number of committees.

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